What is a Predictive Dialer
Predictive dialers are used in call centers to allow sales agents to make far more calls than they would be by dialling each contact manually.
A contact list is uploaded and calls are made outbound to the contacts. When a call is answered, software determines whether its a person or an answering machine has answered the call. If it’s a person who answered the call, then the call is transferred to a waiting agent.
Challenges of Predictive Dialing
Most of us will have had a silent call, or a long delay before being transferred to an agent. The challenge for a predictive dialer is to make an appropriate number of calls to keep the agents occupied, while minimising or eliminating calls to contacts when there are no agents to take the calls which may result in a silent call to the contact.
How Many Calls Should the Predictive Dialer Make
Predictive Dialer software uses complex calculations to work out how fast to dial and how many calls to make. The calculations are not only based on the number of agents available, but also historical statistics based on the number of successful calls so that the predictive dialer may change its rate of dialing depending on the quality of the contact list, the time of day and previous performance over the last few minutes, hours and days.
Wrap up Time
Not only does the predictive dialer have to take account of how many agents on the line, but also include any wrap-up time. The agent may have finished the call to the contact, but may still have work to do before the agent is available to take the next call.
Transferring the call
The call has to be transferred to the agent in a timely manner with little delay, so it appears to the contact that the agent has called them directly. In the majority of circumstances, the call to the agent is direct to the call centre PBX via SIP, or in many cases, the agent is registered directly to the predictive dialer, and the agent’s phone is set to auto answer to minimise delay or in some cases, the agents line is open, and then hears notification that there is a customer on the line.
Legal Considerations for Predictive Dialing
In many jurisdictions around the world, there are large penalties for getting predictive dialling wrong, offences may include:
- Calling people who have requested not to be called; many countries have a list that has to be checked before calls can be made.
- Not getting permission to call your contacts; depending on the type of calling you are doing, it may be necessary to get permission before calling.
- Silent calls; if an agent is unavailable, then a pre-recorded message may have to be played rather than leaving the call as silent or simply hanging up.
- Not setting a sufficient duration of the ringing time; generally speaking, you have to let the contact’s phone ring for a minimum period of time to give the contact time to answer the call.
- Retrying calls inside of minimum time limit; in some jurisdictions, there are rules as to how long before you can call a customer back a second time.
- Not displaying a valid caller ID, usually the contact needs to know who called them
- Inaccurate answering machine detection.
It is important to take the laws of your country into account, and ensure who is responsible for compliance, as well as ensure that you can comply with the law. In the UK, it’s the company selling the products may be liable whereas in the USA, the company actually making the calls may be regarded as at fault.
Statistics and Reporting
Any good predictive dialer system will need detailed statistics, not only for commercial reasons but for compliance as well.
Statistics from a commercial standpoint are required to decide whether there are sufficient agents available to take the calls, and to ensure that using a predictive dialer is providing a good return resulting in quality leads and sales.
Statistics are also required from a legal perspective to ensure compliance, such as registering the number of abandoned or silent calls, the accuracy of the answering machine detection, and ensuring that contacts on do not call lists have not been called.
Voice Broadcasting as an Alternative to Predictive Dialing
The steps required for a successful and prosperous predictive dialer campaign can be quite a challenge, ensuring that the right number of agents are in the right place at the right time, you do not over-dial, and you comply with the local laws on predictive dialing.
Voice broadcasting can have similar results in sales or be part of a wider marketing strategy using both press one to speak to an agent, where the contact chooses if they are free to talk, ensuring that the contact is in a receptive frame of mind, or letting the customer opt for a callback, so you can accurately predict the number of sales agents needed.
There are still rules regulating voice broadcasting, but they may not be as onerous as those surrounding predictive dialing.
Newfies-Dialer is designed for the voice broadcasting market, and as such does not have any predictive capability. For more information about Newfies-Dialer, please contact us for more information and a demonstration.